Center for Integrative Human Physiology

Zürich, Switzerland

Center for Integrative Human Physiology

Zürich, Switzerland

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Kano M.,University of London | Kano M.,Tohoku University | Coen S.J.,University of London | Coen S.J.,King's College London | And 8 more authors.
Brain Structure and Function | Year: 2013

Effects of physiological and/or psychological inter-individual differences on the resting brain state have not been fully established. The present study investigated the effects of individual differences in basal autonomic tone and positive and negative personality dimensions on resting brain activity. Whole-brain resting cerebral perfusion images were acquired from 32 healthy subjects (16 males) using arterial spin labeling perfusion MRI. Neuroticism and extraversion were assessed with the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised. Resting autonomic activity was assessed using a validated measure of baseline cardiac vagal tone (CVT) in each individual. Potential associations between the perfusion data and individual CVT (27 subjects) and personality score (28 subjects) were tested at the level of voxel clusters by fitting a multiple regression model at each intracerebral voxel. Greater baseline perfusion in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and cerebellum was associated with lower CVT. At a corrected significance threshold of p < 0.01, strong positive correlations were observed between extraversion and resting brain perfusion in the right caudate, brain stem, and cingulate gyrus. Significant negative correlations between neuroticism and regional cerebral perfusion were identified in the left amygdala, bilateral insula, ACC, and orbitofrontal cortex. These results suggest that individual autonomic tone and psychological variability influence resting brain activity in brain regions, previously shown to be associated with autonomic arousal (dorsal ACC) and personality traits (amygdala, caudate, etc.) during active task processing. The resting brain state may therefore need to be taken into account when interpreting the neurobiology of individual differences in structural and functional brain activity. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Zapico A.G.,Technical University of Madrid | Zapico A.G.,Complutense University of Madrid | Zapico A.G.,Laboratorio Of Fisiologia Of Esfuerzo | Benito P.J.,Technical University of Madrid | And 17 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2012

Background: At present, scientific consensus exists on the multifactorial etiopatogenia of obesity. Both professionals and researchers agree that treatment must also have a multifactorial approach, including diet, physical activity, pharmacology and/or surgical treatment. These two last ones should be reserved for those cases of morbid obesities or in case of failure of the previous ones. The aim of the PRONAF study is to determine what type of exercise combined with caloric restriction is the most appropriate to be included in overweigth and obesity intervention programs, and the aim of this paper is to describe the design and the evaluation methods used to carry out the PRONAF study. Methods/design. One-hundred nineteen overweight (46 males) and 120 obese (61 males) subjects aged 18-50 years were randomly assigned to a strength training group, an endurance training group, a combined strength + endurance training group or a diet and physical activity recommendations group. The intervention period was 22 weeks (in all cases 3 times/wk of training for 22 weeks and 2 weeks for pre and post evaluation). All subjects followed a hypocaloric diet (25-30% less energy intake than the daily energy expenditure estimated by accelerometry). 29-34% of the total energy intake came from fat, 14-20% from protein, and 50-55% from carbohydrates. The mayor outcome variables assesed were, biochemical and inflamatory markers, body composition, energy balance, physical fitness, nutritional habits, genetic profile and quality of life. 180 (75.3%) subjects finished the study, with a dropout rate of 24.7%. Dropout reasons included: personal reasons 17 (28.8%), low adherence to exercise 3 (5.1%), low adherence to diet 6 (10.2%), job change 6 (10.2%), and lost interest 27 (45.8%). Discussion. Feasibility of the study has been proven, with a low dropout rate which corresponds to the estimated sample size. Transfer of knowledge is foreseen as a spin-off, in order that overweight and obese subjects can benefit from the results. The aim is to transfer it to sports centres. Effectiveness on individual health-related parameter in order to determine the most effective training programme will be analysed in forthcoming publications. Trial registration. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01116856. © 2012 Zapico et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Jacobs R.A.,University of Zürich | Jacobs R.A.,Center for Integrative Human Physiology | Rasmussen P.,Center for Integrative Human Physiology | Rasmussen P.,University of Zürich | And 14 more authors.
Journal of Applied Physiology | Year: 2011

Human endurance performance can be predicted from maximal oxygen consumption (VO 2max), lactate threshold, and exercise efficiency. These physiological parameters, however, are not wholly exclusive from one another, and their interplay is complex. Accordingly, we sought to identify more specific measurements explaining the range of performance among athletes. Out of 150 separate variables we identified 10 principal factors responsible for hematological, cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, and neurological variation in 16 highly trained cyclists. These principal factors were then correlated with a 26-km time trial and test of maximal incremental power output. Average power output during the 26-km time trial was attributed to, in order of importance, oxidative phosphorylation capacity of the vastus lateralis muscle (P = 0.0005), steady-state submaximal blood lactate concentrations (P = 0.0017), and maximal leg oxygenation (sO 2LEG) (P = 0.0295), accounting for 78% of the variation in time trial performance. Variability in maximal power output, on the other hand, was attributed to total body hemoglobin mass (Hb mass; P = 0.0038), VO2max (P = 0.0213), and sO 2LEG (P = 0.0463). In conclusion, 1) skeletal muscle oxidative capacity is the primary predictor of time trial performance in highly trained cyclists; 2) the strongest predictor for maximal incremental power output is Hb mass; and 3) overall exercise performance (time trial performance + maximal incremental power output) correlates most strongly to measures regarding the capability for oxygen transport, highVO2max and Hb mass, in addition to measures of oxygen utilization, maximal oxidative phosphorylation, and electron transport system capacities in the skeletal muscle. Copyright © 2011 the American Physiological Society.


Elmer S.,University of Zürich | Hanggi J.,University of Zürich | Meyer M.,Center for Integrative Human Physiology | Meyer M.,University of Zürich | And 4 more authors.
Cortex | Year: 2013

We measured musicians and non-musicians by using structural magnetic resonance imaging to investigate relationships between cortical features of the left planum temporale (PT) and the categorization of consonant-vowel (CV) syllables and their reduced-spectrum analogues. The present work is based on previous functional studies consistently showing that the left PT is particularly responsive to transient acoustic features in CV syllables and their reduced-spectrum analogues, and on striking evidence pointing to structural alterations of the left PT as a function of musicianship. By combining these two observations, we hypothesized to find that differences in cortical surface area (SA) and cortical thickness (CT) of the left PT in musicians may facilitate the categorization of fast-changing phonetic cues. Behavioural results indicated that musicians and non-musicians achieved a comparable performance in the categorization of CV syllables, whereas the musicians performed significantly better than the controls in the more demanding reduced-spectrum condition. This better behavioural performance corresponds to an increased cortical SA of the left PT in musicians compared to non-musicians. No differences in CT of the left PT were found between groups. In line with our predictions, we revealed a positive correlation between cortical SA of the left PT in musicians and the behavioural performance during the acoustically more demanding reduced-spectrum condition. Hence, we provide first evidence for a relationship between musical expertise, cortical SA of the left PT, and the processing of fast-changing phonetic cues. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Gerber P.A.,University of Zürich | Gerber P.A.,Competence Center for Systems Physiology and Metabolic Diseases | Thalhammer C.,University of Zürich | Schmied C.,University of Zürich | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The association of small, dense low-density lipoprotein (sdLDL) particles with an increased cardiovascular risk is well established. However, its predictive value with regard to glucose metabolism and arterial disease in patients with type 2 diabetes has not been thoroughly investigated. We conducted a prospective longitudinal cohort study in patients with (pre)diabetes who were seen at baseline and after two years. sdLDL particles were determined by gradient gel electrophoresis. Insulin resistance was estimated by using the homeostatic model assessment 2 (HOMA2). Intima media thickness (IMT) and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were assessed by ultrasound measurements. Fifty-nine patients (mean age 63.0 ± 12.2 years) were enrolled and 39 were seen at follow-up. IMT increased in the whole cohort during follow-up. The change in IMT was predicted by the proportion of sdLDL particles at baseline (p=0.03), and the change in FMD was predicted by LDL-cholesterol levels at baseline (p=0.049). HOMA2 and changes in HOMA2 correlated with the proportion of sdLDL particles and changes in this proportion, respectively (p<0.05 for both). Serum resistin levels increased in parallel with the increasing sdLDL particle number, while serum adiponectin increased only in patients with unaltered sdLDL particle number at follow-up (p<0.01 for both). In conclusion, the proportion of small, dense LDL particles and changes in this proportion are predictive of changes in intima media thickness and insulin resistance, and are closely associated with other determinants of an adverse metabolic status. Thus, this parameter extends the individual risk assessment beyond the limitations of traditional risk markers in patients with dysglycemia. © 2013 Gerber et al.


Elmer S.,Institute of Psychology | Rogenmoser L.,Institute of Psychology | Kuhnis J.,Institute of Psychology | Jancke L.,Institute of Psychology | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Absolute pitch (AP) refers to the rare ability to identify the chroma of a tone or to produce a specific pitch without reference to keyality (e.g., G or C). Previously, AP has been proposed to rely on the distinctive functional-anatomical architecture of the left auditory-related cortex (ARC), this specific trait possibly enabling an optimized early “categorical perception”. In contrast, currently prevailing models of AP postulate that cognitive rather than perceptual processes, namely “pitch labeling” mechanisms, more likely constitute the bearing skeleton of AP. This associative memory component has previously been proposed to be dependent, among other mechanisms, on the recruitment of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) as well as on the integrity of the left arcuate fasciculus, a fiber bundle linking the posterior supratemporal plane with the DLPFC. Here, we attempted to integrate these two apparently conflicting perspectives on AP, namely early “categorical perception” and “pitch labeling”. We used electroencephalography and evaluated resting-state intracranial functional connectivity between the left ARC and DLPFC in a sample of musicians with and without AP. Results demonstrate significantly increased left-hemispheric theta phase synchronization in AP compared with non-AP musicians. Within the AP group, this specific electrophysiological marker was predictive of absolute-hearing behavior and explained ~30% of variance. Thus, we propose that in AP subjects the tonal inputs and the corresponding mnemonic representations are tightly coupled in such a manner that the distinctive electrophysiological signature of AP can saliently be detected in only 3 min of resting-state measurements. © 2015 the authors


Clarenbach C.F.,University of Zürich | Stoewhas A.-C.,University of Zürich | Van Gestel A.J.R.,University of Zürich | Latshang T.D.,University of Zürich | And 5 more authors.
Hypertension Research | Year: 2012

Arterial tonometry is a method to assess arterial stiffness and has become a valuable tool in the stratification of cardiovascular risk. The arterial tonometry-derived augmentation index (AIx) is a marker of arterial stiffness and an independent predictor of mortality. As the AIx is relatively cumbersome to obtain, simpler methods such as analysis of pulse waves obtained by digital photoplethysmography have been proposed to estimate arterial stiffness. The objective of this study is to compare the usefulness of the stiffness index (SI) derived from digital photoplethysmography and the AIx derived from radial tonometry for stratification of cardiovascular risk. We studied 83 subjects with a heterogeneous cardiovascular risk profile and determined the ability of the two devices to differentiate subjects with low from subjects with high cardiovascular risk estimated by the Europe (EU)-heart score. Failure rate in both devices was similar (3.6%). AIx and SI were modestly correlated (r=0.48, P<0.001) and both indexes correlated with the EU-score (r=0.54, P<0.001) and (r=0.56, P<0.001), respectively. Both devices discriminated accurately between subjects with high cardiovascular risk (upper tertile of the EU-score) and low cardiovascular risk (lower tertile). However, only the SI differentiated significantly between subjects with intermediate risk (middle tertile) and high risk (upper tertile). Compared with the AIx, assessment of the SI derived by digital photoplethysmography is simple and possibly yields an advantage in risk stratification of subjects with intermediate and high cardiovascular risk. Therefore, digital pulse wave analysis may be a valuable tool to estimate arterial stiffness in large clinical studies. © 2012 The Japanese Society of Hypertension All rights reserved.


Elmer S.,University of Zürich | Meyer M.,Center for Integrative Human Physiology | Meyer M.,University of Zürich | Jancke L.,University of Zürich | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Psychophysiology | Year: 2012

Previously, the EEG technique has been used to investigate the spatiotemporal properties of audiovisual (AV) processing by taking advantage of the violation of the "additive model", which is considered to be a very conservative approach. In the present work, we used a less conservative and novel approach than the criterion of superadditivity for estimating AV interactions. Hence, we estimated AV interaction patterns by comparing the responses to AV stimuli with the averaged responses to the unimodal visual and auditory stimuli in musically untrained subjects and by presenting syllables and piano tones coupled with flashlights. Our results suggest that the two AV objects elicited consistent interaction patterns within the time course of unisensory processing in the time range between 80 and 250. ms post stimulus onset. The scalp topographies, as well as the source estimation approach we adopted, indicate that the first interaction pattern at around 100. ms was partially driven by auditory-related cortical regions. Additionally, we found evidence for a second interaction pattern at around 200. ms that was mainly associated with the responsiveness of extra-sensory brain regions. During this later processing stage, only the music condition was associated with putative responses that originated from auditory-related cortical fields. This study provides a novel approach to investigate the basic principles underlying elementary AV speech and music processing in subjects without formal musical education. © 2011 Elsevier B.V..


McKay R.,University of London | Tamagni C.,University of Zürich | Palla A.,University of Zürich | Krummenacher P.,University of Zürich | And 5 more authors.
Cortex | Year: 2013

Introduction: Unrealistic optimism refers to the pervasive tendency of healthy individuals to underestimate their likelihood of future misfortune, including illness. The phenomenon shares a qualitative resemblance with anosognosia, a neurological disorder characterized by a deficient appreciation of manifest current illness or impairment. Unrealistic optimism and anosognosia have been independently associated with a region of right inferior frontal gyrus, the pars opercularis. Moreover, anosognosia is temporarily abolished by vestibular stimulation, particularly by irrigation of the left (but not right) ear with cold water, a procedure known to activate the right inferior frontal region. We therefore hypothesized that left caloric stimulation would attenuate unrealistic optimism in healthy participants. Methods: Thirty-one healthy right-handed adults underwent cold. -water caloric vestibular stimulation of both ears in succession. During each stimulation episode, and at baseline, participants estimated their own relative risk of contracting a series of illnesses in the future. Results: Compared to baseline, average risk estimates were significantly higher during left-ear stimulation, whereas they remained unchanged during right-ear stimulation. Unrealistic optimism was thus reduced selectively during cold caloric stimulation of the left ear. Conclusions: Our results point to a unitary mechanism underlying both anosognosia and unrealistic optimism, and suggest that unrealistic optimism is a form of subclinical anosognosia for prospective symptoms. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Kuhnis J.,University of Zürich | Elmer S.,University of Zürich | Meyer M.,Center for Integrative Human Physiology | Meyer M.,University of Zürich | And 3 more authors.
Brain Topography | Year: 2013

A vast amount of previous work has consistently revealed that professional music training is associated with functional and structural alterations of auditory-related brain regions. Meanwhile, there is also an increasing array of evidence, which shows that musicianship facilitates segmental, as well as supra-segmental aspects of speech processing. Based on this evidence, we addressed a novel research question, namely whether professional music training has an influence on the perceptual learning of speech sounds. In the context of an EEG experiment, we presented auditory pseudoword-chimeras, manipulated in terms of spectral- or envelope-related acoustic information, to a group of professional musicians and non-musicians. During EEG measurements, participants were requested to assign the auditory-presented pseudoword-chimeras to one out of four visually presented templates. As expected, both groups showed behavioural learning effects during the time course of the experiment. These learning effects were associated with an increase in accuracy, a decrease in reaction time, as well as a decrease in the P2-like microstate duration in both groups. Notably, the musicians showed an increased learning performance compared to the controls during the first two runs of the spectral condition. This perceptual learning effect, which varies as a function of musical expertise, was reflected by a reduction of the P2-like microstate duration. Results may mirror transfer effects from musical training to the processing of spectral information in speech sounds. Hence, this study provides first evidence for a relationship between changes in microstates, musical expertise, and perceptual verbal learning mechanisms. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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